Social Enterprise Mapping Study: Report for the Big Lottery Fund

Social Enterprise Mapping Study: Report for the Big Lottery Fund
February 2014

Executive Summary

This study was commissioned by the BIG Lottery Fund in Scotland to map social enterprises and their activity in Scotland. The study was undertaken over a six-month period from July 2013 to December 2013.

There are various definitions in use for „social enterprises‟, but these commonly focus on achieving social or environmental goals, being non-profit distributing and trading. For the purpose of this report we have adopted a broader definition, best set out in the 2013 Voluntary Code of Practice championed by Senscot, and developed in partnership with others. This requires social enterprises to aspire to trading and is especially helpful in including new or emergent social enterprises. We have also looked closely at the level of trading carried out by organisations using the definition published by Senscot in 2010 which set a 50% trading level. This is because this research aims to inform work to support social enterprises to be more sustainable, and therefore understanding levels of current trading is important. This research shows that 89% of survey respondents identified themselves as a social enterprise, and 57% are generating more than 50% of their income from trading.

Social enterprises deliver all over the country with a slightly larger emphasis in rural areas, but there is no significantly higher concentration of them in disadvantaged areas.

Salary costs have grown since 2010 and now constitute half of all running costs of social enterprises. More than half (61%) of social enterprises are expecting an increase of 10% in full time equivalent staff, two fifths (44%) expect a substantial increase in their volunteers. This is in line with their expectations of an increased demand for their services and activities.

The sector where most future growth is expected is the environment and recycling sector, where over four-fifths of organisations expect an increase in staff (87%), volunteers (82%), and turnover (88%). There are similar expectations in the arts and culture sector, with respective predicted increases of 82%, 67%, and 92%. Organisations were typically optimistic for the future, with at least half of organisations in every sector predicting a further increase in turnover.

The vast majority of social enterprises have business plans in place or are currently working on one and almost all are planning to become more enterprising in addressing the growing demand in coming years. At the same time, there is uncertainty if these efforts will reduce the need for grant finance.

Most social enterprises find that the key barriers to becoming more enterprising are time pressures and lack of capacity and would like to receive more financial support to address these challenges. Half of all organisations feel that the provision of advice on business development would also help them grow.

3,547 The number of social enterprises operating in Scotland

89% The proportion of third sector organisations self-identifying as a social enterprise

57% The proportion of social enterprises who generate 50%+ of their income from trading

13 years The average age of a social enterprise in Scotland

120,900 Full time equivalent staff employed at the Scottish level

26% Of organisations deliver services to rural, urban, and disadvantaged neighbourhoods

41% Of organisations have experience of bidding for contracts from public agencies/bodies
40% The average increase in trading income expected over the next three years *1

£6.9bn Total sectoral turnover in 2012

78% Of organisations expect annual running costs to increase by 2015

£12.9bn The total value of fixed and liquid assets in 2012

82% Of organisations plan to become more enterprising in future

*1 This does not include some of the more optimistic outliers, so can be seen as a slightly conservative estimate.

For the full report see